Sessellift Gornergrat mit Blick aufs Matterhorn

Launch of the first ski pass 

Story 53

Christmas Day 1928 marked the beginning of winter operation of Gornergrat Railway in Zermatt. On this exciting day, the first sports trains began their journey to the Riffelalp, laying the foundation for a new era of winter tourism. 

Winter tourism began in Zermatt in 1928. In the early years, however, there weren’t massive crowds in winter, as a report by Gornergrat Railway from 1953 reveals. In 1940, only 1,799 travellers visited the now popular tourist resort on the Matterhorn. 

Numbers on the rise 

But with the expansion of winter operations to Riffelberg and Gornergrat, Gornergrat Railway discovered new slopes that made Zermatt more attractive for snow sports enthusiasts. Just one year later, in 1941, more than 11,000 enthusiastic people visited Zermatt, and by 1945 there were already more than 20,000 adventurous guests. 

Ski passes for enthusiasts 

In order to keep up with the rising numbers, Gornergrat Railway decided on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 1953 to introduce the first ski pass.

For skiers, there is an endless variety of resources: near the village there are easy slopes for beginners, higher up there are numerous downhill trails and finally the whole range of tours and excursions in the high mountains. […] From this winter, the use of Gornergrat Railway, the Sunnega chairlift and the Blauherd ski lift will be made easier by the personal regional pass, which skiers can use as they wish on these convenient slopes for seven consecutive days.
Article in the newspaper "Le Nouvelliste"

Today’s figures 

According to Zermatt Tourism, Zermatt recorded a new visitor record in the 2017/18 financial year. Over 2.2 million overnight stays were recorded in total. In winter 22/23, there were almost 800,000 overnight stays. 

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